Publication Date: February 1932
Story Perspective: First-Person
Themes: Working Together, Trust, Being One Step Ahead
The eighth novel of the Hercule Poirot series follows Hercule and his partner, Hastings, as they try to solve a mystery which turns out to be fairly tricky to solve.
Hercule and Hastings stumble upon the young and naive Magdala “Nick” Buckley. She proclaims that there have been a few attempts on her life, but doesn’t take them seriously. Being the great detective that he is, Hercule takes on this case and begins to weave the pieces together before the next attempt on Nick’s life leads to her actual death.
As the two look closely at both Nick’s friendships and few distant family members, they attempt to understand the motive in taking the young woman’s life. Will they be able to figure out the mystery before it’s too late?
The strongest aspect of Peril at End House, I would say, is its plot. The cast of people that Christie brings allows the reader to continually guess on who the true culprit is. I found myself stating, “It was her”, “No, it was him”, or “Wait, no, it was them!”, which added much excitement to the story. The ending was both satisfying and also dissatisfying. I was shocked, which who doesn’t love that in a mystery, but I found the events unfolded in a rush and got a bit lost.
Unfortunately, the point-of-view was one that bothered me. Hastings is the one witnessing all these events and is showing the audience how the events are unfolding. However, I felt his character to be inconsequential and fairly bothersome. His only role seemed to be Hercule’s talking buddy. If that’s his only purpose, why not tell the story from Hercule’s perspective and allow him to describe the occurrences?
Being more of a plot-driven novel, the character development is very much lacking here. Hercule does show some emotions, but I’m afraid I just didn’t feel for him or anyone else while reading. I’m not sure if this is typical of this author or if his character is more developed in the books prior to this one, but I personally like a balance of both plot-driven and character-driven storylines. This is mainly because it is more challenging for me to care about what happens to the characters if I don’t know much about them.
Overall, the book was enjoyable. However, if the other books in the series are similarly done where the character development lacks as much as this one, then I don’t think I would continue on this series.
I would perhaps recommend this to those who enjoy “whodunit” novels with an interesting twist at the end.
Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
16 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!